So taking refuge in the dharma — teachings of the Buddha — is what it’s all about. From a broader perspective, the dharma also means your whole life. The teachings of the Buddha are about letting go and opening: you do that in how you relate to the people in your life, how you relate to the situations you’re in, how you relate with your thoughts, how you relate with your emotions. The purpose of your life is not to make a lot of money, it’s not to find the perfect marriage, it’s not to build Gampo Abbey. It’s not to do any of these things. You have a certain life, and whatever life you’re in is a vehicle for waking up. If you’re a mother raising your children, that’s the vehicle for waking up, if you’re an actress, that’s the vehicle for waking up. If you’re a construction worker, that’s the vehicle for waking up. If you’re a retired person facing old age, that’s the vehicle for waking up. If you’re alone and you feel lonely and you wish you had a mate, that’s the vehicle for waking up. If you have a huge family around you and wish you had a little more free time, that’s the vehicle for waking up. Whatever you have, that’s it. There’s no better situation that the one you have. It’s made for you. It’ll show you everything you need to know about where your zipper’s stuck and where you can leap. So that’s what it means to take refuge in the dharma. It has to do with finding open space, not being covered in armour.
— Pema Chödrön, The Wisdom of No Escape (p. 71)